Time-of-Use Customer Choice

A family sitting together in their kitchen

Beginning on November 1, 2020, Waterloo North Hydro customers will have the option to select the electricity pricing plan that best fits their lifestyle.

The Government of Ontario has introduced Time-of-Use Customer Choice, allowing customers to choose between Time-of-Use pricing and Tiered pricing for their electricity usage. This choice offers customers the best chance to save money on their electricity bills. 

You can make the choice to switch to Tiered Pricing as of October 13, 2020. To do so, you must notify us by completing one of either the online Election Form, the printable PDF election form,* by calling us at 519-886-5090, or by emailing us at customerchoice@wnhydro.com. Please note: you are only required to complete one of these options in order to make the switch.

*Please note: Where possible, please complete the fillable PDF form using Adobe Reader.

To assist you in better understanding your options, we have put together this information resource. To make this page easier to navigate, we’ve included a number of topics for you to choose from. To find more information, please select from the below information areas:

What Are My Options?

As a Waterloo North Hydro customer, you now have two choices for how you wish to be billed for your electricity usage, Time-of-Use (TOU), which is based on how much and when you use electricity, or Tiered Pricing, which is based on how much electricity you use, regardless of the time of day.

What is Time-of-Use Pricing?

With TOU prices, the price depends on when you use electricity. You can help manage your electricity costs by shifting your usage to lower price periods when possible. 

There are three TOU periods: 

  • Off-peak: When demand for electricity is lowest. Ontario households use most of their electricity – nearly two thirds of it – during off-peak hours. 
  • Mid-peak: When demand for electricity is moderate. These periods are during the daytime, but not the busiest times of day. 
  • On-peak: When demand for electricity is generally higher. These are the busier times of day - generally when people are cooking, starting up their computers and running heaters or air conditioners.

 

Time of Use Rates and Periods 

People use electricity differently depending on the season, so the TOU price periods are different in the winter than they are in the summer. 

The rate you pay for electricity in each of these periods reflects the costs of supplying electricity at that time of day. When demand for electricity is lower, electricity is less expensive. More expensive sources of generating electricity are used when demand is higher, which in turn makes the price higher.

To learn more about TOU pricing, and to see the current TOU periods and rates, please click here.

What is Tiered Pricing?

Tiered Pricing GraphicWith Tiered prices, you can use a certain amount of electricity each month at a lower price. Once that limit (called a threshold) is exceeded, a higher price applies. For residential customers, the threshold normally changes with the season to reflect changing usage patterns – for example, there are fewer hours of daylight in the winter and some customers use electric heating. 

In the winter period (November 1 – April 30), the Tier threshold for residential customers is 1,000 kWh so that households can use more power at the lower price. In the summer period (May 1 – October 31), the Tier threshold for residential customers is 600 kWh. 

For small business customers, the Tier threshold is 750 kWh all year round.

To learn more about Tiered Pricing, and to see the current Tiered prices and thresholds, please click here.

How Can I Choose What Plan is Right For Me?

When looking at which electricity rate plan is right for you, please consider your lifestyle and how and when you use electricity. Customers who work different shifts may be able to use more of their electricity at times when lower off-peak prices apply, and customers who recharge their electric cars may also want to take advantage of the lower off-peak prices that apply at night. Others may favour Tiered prices because they want the flexibility to do their household chores at any time of the day, or their total usage rarely exceeds 600 kWh in a month in summer, or 1,000 kWh in a month in winter.

When selecting the type of plan that works best for you, please considering the follow factors:

  • Your average electricity usage on a monthly basis
    Historically, the typical residential customer who paid TOU prices has used nearly two thirds of their power at off-peak times – the time when the lowest TOU price applies. The other third of their power use was typically split equally between on- and mid-peak times. Look at the Electricity line of your bill to see how much power you use in each of the three TOU price periods.
  • Your Price Plan
    Do you pay TOU or Tiered prices for your electricity? If you’re unsure, take a look at the Electricity line of your bill. Most residential and small business customers in Ontario pay TOU prices.

    Please see the below image for an example of what you will see on your bill if your are currently paying TOU prices. You can find this section on the second page of your electricity bill.

A typical bill layout for a Time-of-Use customer

  • Your consumption pattern
    When you use electricity can be another factor in your choice. Historically, the typical residential customer who paid TOU prices has used nearly two thirds of their power at off-peak times – the time when the lowest TOU price applies. The other third of their power used was typically split equally between on- and mid-peak times. Look at the Electricity line of your bill to see how much power you use in each of the three TOU price periods.
  • Your family’s schedule and lifestyle
    Your family’s schedule and lifestyle have a large impact on your electricity usage.  Please consider this factor when selecting your pricing plan. Looking at the following factors can help you determine which option is best for you and your family:
    • Are you at home during the day on weekdays?
    • Are you able to shift the majority of your usage to off-peak hours (nighttime or weekends)?
    • Do you have large appliances that you need to run during on-peak hours (during the day on weekdays)?

To help you get a better understanding of your electricity requirements, and to see how much electricity you've typically used by the hour, day and month, log into Waterloo North Hydro’s My Account. 

Not on My Account? Please visit www.wnhydro.com/myaccount to register for WNH’s online customer portal.

What Tools Are Available to Help Me Make a Decision?

To help you make an educated decision on which rate is best for you, the Ontario Energy Board has developed a bill calculator that will allow you to analyze your account and see the impact of Tiered pricing on your account. The calculator will help you to:

  • Compare electricity price plans
  • Compare your current electricity or natural gas bill with a contract offered by an energy retailer

Please  click here to access the Ontario Energy Board's online bill calculator tool

In the future, we will provide customers with a handy online comparison tool through our My Account portal that will allow you to analyze your past consumption and compare the total cost of previous bills under both TOU and Tiered Pricing plans. Please stay tuned for updates on the availability of this tool.

There is no guarantee you will save money if you switch from TOU to Tiered prices. The total bill impact of switching will vary depending on how much electricity is consumed in a billing period and when it is consumed during the day. Whatever you choose, one thing remains certain: the less electricity you use, the less you pay.

How Do I Opt-in to Tiered Pricing?

The majority of WNH customers are currently on TOU. If you wish to remain on TOU, no further action is required.

If you wish to switch your account to Tiered Pricing, we have a number of easy and convenience ways for you to make the switch. Please inform us of your choice to switch by completing one of the following:

 

  • The easiest and quickest way for you to complete the switch is to fill out the online version of the election form found here. Select “Switch to Tiered Pricing” from the options, and click submit. 
    Please note: You should have a recent electricity bill on hand when filling out the form, as you will need your utility account number.

526 Country Squire Rd
Waterloo, ON
N2J 4G8

If you do not wish to change your plan, you don’t need to do anything. You’ll continue to be billed on TOU.

*Please note: Where possible, please complete the fillable PDF form using Adobe Reader.

When will this change take effect?

Once we have received your confirmation that you wish to switch to Tiered Pricing/TOU through either the completion of your online election form, the printable PDF election form, via phone, or by email, you will receive a confirmation email from us. Within 10 business days of receiving your election form, we will let you know if your electricity form has been accepted, or if it cannot be processed. If your form cannot be processed, we will provide details on why. 

If your form has been accepted, we will process your application and let you know the date when your new pricing plan will begin.

The date you will begin to see your new price plan on your bill will vary depending on your billing date and billing cycle.

  • A switch from TOU to Tiered prices can only take effect at the start of a billing period. You are generally billed for a 30-day period, and the start and end dates are identified on your electricity bill. Many customers are not billed based on a calendar month, and for many customers the start of your billing period can be any given day of a month.
  • Waterloo North Hydro must start charging you Tiered prices as of your next billing period after you submit your election form if we receive the election form at least 10 business days before that billing period starts.
    For example. if your billing period runs from November 10th to December 9th and you submit your election form on October 26th, the first billing period the new rate will be applied to is November 10th - December 9th.
  • If Waterloo North Hydro receives your election form less than 10 business days before the start of your next billing period, it might still be able to switch you for your next billing period. But if we cannot do so, we have to start charging you Tiered prices at the start of the next billing period after that.
    For example, if your billing period runs from November 10th to December 9th, and you submit your election form on November 3rd, the first billing period the new rate plan will be applied to would be December 10th - January 9th.
  • Because a switch in prices can only take effect at the beginning of a billing period, it will take some time between the day you provide your election form and the day you actually start getting charged Tiered prices.
  • Even if you provide your election form to Waterloo North Hydro before the end of October, you’ll very likely pay TOU prices for at least some period of time – between November 1 and the time when your next complete billing period starts (or the billing period after that, depending on when you provide your election form).

Where Can I Get More Information?

For more information on TOU or Tiered Pricing, please visit www.wnhydro.com/rates. To learn more about the customer rate choice program, please visit www.oeb.ca/choice

You can also email us at customerchoice@wnhydro.com or call us at 519-886-5090 and our Customer Support staff will answer any questions you may have.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1.       What is Time-of-Use (TOU) Customer Choice?

Residential or small business customers that pay TOU electricity prices, can choose to switch to Tiered prices beginning November 1, 2020.

If a customer wants to continue paying TOU prices, no action is required.

If a customer wishes to switch from TOU to Tiered pricing, they must apply through WNH.

Since June 1, 2020, customers on TOU have been paying a fixed electricity price of 12.8 ¢/kWh for all hours of the day (known as the COVID-19 Recovery Rate) which the government put in place as part of the its response to the COVID pandemic. This fixed price ends on October 31, 2020. On November 1, 2020 the TOU prices approved by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) will replace the fixed price.

2.  When Can Customers Begin Switching?

Waterloo North Hydro will begin accepting election forms on October 13, 2020. There is no deadline to apply. 

3.  When Will the Opt-in Come into Effect?

The switch from TOU to Tiered pricing can only take effect at the start of a billing period. The date will be different for each customer, depending on their billing period.

  • If a customer completes their opt-in at least 10 business days before the start of their next billing period, WNH will begin charging Tiered pricing on their next billing period.
  • If a customer completes their opt-in less than 10 business days before the start of their next billing period, WNH will begin charging Tiered pricing on the next billing period after the upcoming period.

Due to the fact that a switch in prices can only take effect at the beginning of a billing period, it will take some time between the day the customer completes their opt-in and the day they actually start getting charged Tiered prices.

4.  Why did the Ontario Energy Board Implement Customer Choice?

Customer choice was implemented to offer Ontario consumers a choice when selecting their electricity pricing plan. This choice allows customers to select the pricing plan that best fits their lifestyle and offers the best chance to help customers save money on their electricity bill.

5.  If a customer has opted into Tiered prices, can they switch back to TOU prices?

Yes. Customers are able to switch back to TOU at any time. The application process for switching back is the same as it is for opting into Tiered pricing.

6.  Can all customers opt out of TOU prices?

Any customer currently on TOU may opt out and pay Tiered prices instead.

Customers who are currently paying Tiered prices can’t switch to TOU prices at this time because their meters can’t be used to bill TOU prices.

If a customer that lives in a condo or apartment with its own individual meter receives their bill from a company other than Waterloo North Hydro, the customer is not eligible to switch, as they are a customer of a unit sub-meter provider (USMP).  Customers of USMPs also can’t switch to Tiered prices. That decision can only be made for the building as a whole by the master consumer, who is the person that retained a USMP for the property. In most cases, the master consumer is the property manager, landlord or condominium board.

7.  If a customer receives a monthly credit from the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP). Will they lose that credit if they switch to Tiered prices?

No. The customer will still receive the credit.

8. If a customer receives the Ontario Electricity Rebate. Will they lose that rebate if they switch to Tiered prices?

No. The customer will still receive the credit.

9.  What are the Current Time-of-Use Rates and the Current Tiered Pricing Rates?

Since June 1, 2020, residential and small business customers on Time-of-Use (TOU) have been paying a fixed electricity price of 12.8 ¢/kWh for all hours of the day as part of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning November 1, 2020, esidential and small business customers on Time-of-Use (TOU) will begin paying Winter 2020 TOU rates. These rates are as follows:

Off-Peak | 10.5 ¢/kWh - Weekdays 7:00 pm to 7:00 am and All Day on Weekends & Holidays

Mid-Peak | 15.0 ¢/kWh -  Weekdays 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

On-Peak | 21.7 ¢/kWh - Weekdays 7:00 am - 11:00 am  and 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Current Tiered Pricing is as follows:

Residential Tiered Rates
Tier Threshold Tiered Price
1 The first 1,000 kWh/month 11.9 ¢/kWh
2 For electricity used above 1,000 kWh/month 13.9¢/kWh
Non-Residential Tiered Rates
Tier Threshold Tiered Price
1 The first 750 kWh/month 11.9 ¢/kWh
2 For electricity used above 750 kWh/month 13.9 ¢/kWh

This pricing structure ends on October 31, 2020. On November 1, 2020, new winter TOU and Tiered prices will be set, and TOU customers will resume paying TOU prices that are different at different times of the day.

Tiered Pricing - as of November 1, 2020

Residential Tiered Rates
Tier Threshold Tiered Price
1 The first 1,000 kWh/month 12.6 ¢/kWh
2 For electricity used above 1,000 kWh/month 14.6 ¢/kWh
Non-Residential Tiered Rates
Tier Threshold Tiered Price
1 The first 750 kWh/month 12.6 ¢/kWh
2 For electricity used above 750 kWh/month 14.6 ¢/kWh

10. How often are TOU and Tiered prices set?

The OEB typically sets new TOU and Tiered prices for May and November, based on an estimate of how much it will cost to supply residential and small business customers on the Regulated Price Plan with the electricity that they are expected to use.

11. Who sets TOU and Tiered prices and rates?

The OEB sets TOU periods and rates and also sets Tiered pricing. For more information on this, please visit www.oeb.ca.

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